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How to attack an enemy in cover from little or no cover. Help? =)


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I'm pretty new and though I'm getting better there are certain hangups I run into. This is one I haven't been able to dig up an answer to yet.

MY FORCES: Basically I've got a few squads of riflemen (germans from 41 - mix of green and conscripts) and a panzer(t)a38 if I remember right (regular). I also have an HMG on the top floor of a building about 125 meters to the SE.

ENEMY FORCES: A SINGLE squad of 12 soviet riflemen (conscripts) in rubble.

I've a cluster of scattered trees about 150 meters to the south of the enemy position and not much else for cover anywhere else. Try as I might I cannot get my men to successfully rout the enemy. I lost a LOT of my men in the 15 times I retried to take them out.

The company HQ has a morale bonus of 2 but even that isn't enough to get them to advance without panicking and then getting routed. Even a continual barrage of HE from the Panzer doesn't seem to help nor does the constant downpour of fire from the HMG.

Ok, so enough explanation. Considering the forces listed above, what would you suggest as a tactic for taking the position? I must clear this left flank because on the right there is an enemy gun with a perfect view who cannot miss.

Thanks for any help and if you have some good links to sites I might not have seen for strategies please let me know!

Monk

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I did a search for the phrase "infantry in open" in "entire message" and dredged up a wealth of info on situations similar to this.

Look for threads with Member #5490 -- that's JasonC. His posts are the most informative around when it comes to tactics.

Someone else may be by with answers specific to your situation.

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Thanks. I tried a bunch of different ways to find it but for some reason didn't just try infantry. I'll check those...

Ah, you're right, JasonC's post is really useful. Here's a link if anyones interested: http://www.battlefront.com/cgi-bin/bbs/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=7;t=001480#000000

If you have anything specific to this scenario though I'd still love to hear it. I'm starting to wonder if that squad was made up of fanatics...I simply cannot get them to break. It's sad too since I was mopping up things nicely until I ran into them. =\

Monk

[ April 28, 2004, 09:22 PM: Message edited by: RabidMonk ]

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They might be fanatic. A good flame thrower takes care that kind of behaviour, all right.

I built a scenario based on the situation you described. I advanced my three squads of infantry across the open ground towards the rubble where the Russian infantry was.

I spread my squads out in order to hit the Russian squad from as many different directions as I could. My HMG kept the Russians pinned fairly well until I got within grenade range (30 metres or so) and it wasn't long before the Russian squad routed. They were gunned down in the open. I didn't even need the Panzer 38T.

So...either the Russians you're facing are fanatic, or the Russians have some other support keeping your squads pinned.

That's my quick and dirty assessment of it. Let me know if I missed something.

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There is another Russian rifle squad I routed earlier that is about 300+ meters back from the rubble. They pop a shot off here and there, but are they enought to really keep my 3 squads pinned? I think I'll run some tests with greens and conscripts and see how well they react at long range to rifle fire.

Here's a secondary question you might have an answer for. Have you noticed that troops which get pinned and start to sneak off if near the edges of the map really like to disappear from the war zone? I had an HMG do that the other night.

Anyhow, thanks for everything so far. I'll keep trying to see if I can take them out. Best I've done so far is killed them off but ended up with not enough fire power left to take the last two objectives.

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Yeah, the other Russian squad 300 metres back wouldn't have the punch at that distance to affect your troops very much. However, it could be a misidentified machine gun and that would cause some problems.

I didn't ask -- what fog of war setting are you running for this battle? The higher the FOW, the more identification mistakes that can occur.

As for the secondary question...I have had units rout right off the map many times, but I've never had them sneak off. Once they're gone off the map, they're gone for the battle.

No trouble for the input. My tactics may be crude to many of the other folks around here, but they get the job done.

That's the real beauty of CM -- the player isn't limited by one set of tactics to do the task. There's plenty of options, depending on what you have at your disposal.

EDIT: Whups! I didn't read your post very carefully. That is indeed a previously routed Russian squad 300 metres back...it shouldn't be able to pin your squads. Sorry.

[ April 28, 2004, 10:40 PM: Message edited by: Bergerbitz ]

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Unless the troops routed right at the edge I'm not sure why they decided to take off. Heh, smells like court martial time to me. =) Anyhow, I have given up on that Russian squad. I just went up against a crack unit with only a squad of regulars in a similar situation and had no problem with only one other squad giving suppressive fire. Got my guys right up to the door and hammered them with grenades. Guess it was just one of those great things about CM...you never can say for sure that you've got things under control.

Thanks for the input!

Monk

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Really seems that squad went fanatic.

If they have 2 SMGs left, it is very hard to overcome them. Maybe rush them with several squads at the same time. Approach march should consist of Move to contact and Advance.

What tank do you have? Is smoke available? Is it save to drive the tank to behind the Soviet positions (=morale penalty for the squad)

Gruß

Joachim

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Hm. I'm bored at work, so I might as well spout off on this one for a while. . .

I agree with the assessment that the enemy squad is probably fanatic – just the single HMG firing from 125 meters would normally be enough to panic an out-of-command conscript infantry squad, even if the squad is in relatively good cover such as rubble.

Ideally, you deal with fanatic infantry something that kills quickly, like big DF HE, close assault with SMG-heavy squads, flamethrower, or by maneuvering around them so that they have to move - then you can gun them down in the open. Unfortunately, in this situation it sounds like none of the above are an option, so this is a case of making the most of what you have.

Even though fanatic squads can't be routed, I have always assumed that their ability to return fire is still affected by the volume of incoming fire to a degree. At least, this makes sense - even the most rabid fanatic is going to have to take some degree of cover from incoming bullets, or end up quickly dead. While I've never set up a test to make sure of this, it my in-game experiences seem to support this assumption.

So here's what I would do in your situation:

1) HMG gets a manual target order on the enemy squad to keep its attention there. If the enemy squad is dropping in and out of contact, I would give the HMG an "Area Fire" order on a spot right next to the squad - this will reduce the effectiveness of the HMG's fire to a degree, but will ensure that at least some amount of suppressive fire is ALWAYS directed at the enemy squad, even if it goes "heads down" and drops out of contact. This HMG continues to fire at the enemy squad throughout the rest of my maneuvering. Once my plan of attack gets rolling, the enemy squad should be under fire AT ALL times – if my HMG jams or gets suppressed, then another unit, like the tank or one of the squads, has to take up the slack.

2) ASSUMING I think it's fairly safe to do so, I order the the Pz38(t)A to button up and drive as close to the enemy squad as I can comfortably get it without risking a close assult or undue risk from enemy AT. If possible, this position is as close as 50m and ideally at an angle at least 90 degrees different from the HMG's angle of engagement (CM does model increased suppression effects of small arms fire from multiple vectors). Then the tank gets a manual target line to the enemy squad, and is specifically directed to use its MG rather than its main gun. Part of the reason your 38(t) is having no effect is that it's using it's main gun and not its coax MG -- 37mm HE won't do jack sh*t to enemy infantry in good cover -- the coax MG is actually more effective at ranges less than about 300m. If you can safely get the tank closer than 100m of the enemy infantry, the combined effect of the coax and hull MGs becomes substantial. Also, remember to unbutton and re-button the tank at the beginning of every turn to the TC doesn't expose himself and get his head blown off.

3) The enemy gets at least 2 full turns hosing from the HMG, and at least a full turn the tank's MGs as well before I start my infantry assault. The combined effect of 3 MGs at fairly close range should attritt the enemy squad by a few men. If I have have time and ammo to burn (a rare thing!), I might even allow this "softening up" phase to go on for another turn or two in hopes of picking off more of the enemy squad members.

However, no matter how much ammo and time I have to spare, it's unlikely I'll be able to completely eliminate the enemy squad with the Tank and HMG alone. Here's why: While the first 1 or 2 casualties to the enemy squad should come fairly quickly, with each succeeding casualty, the remaining men in the enemy squad will become progressively more difficult to pick off. Not being privy to the actual game code, I don't know the exact reason for this, but it is definitely easier to cause a single casualty to a full 12-man squad than it is to pick off the last man standing. Whatever the exact details of the relationship between number of men in a unit and the chance of causing a casualty, this is especially important to rememeber when dealing with fanatic infantry, which you generally have to kill rather than rout. While it's certainly worth giving the tank and MG enough time to pick off 2 or 3 of the enemy squad members and reduce the number of weapons firing back at you, it will take a prohibitive amount of time and ammo to entirely eliminate a fanatic squad in a good cover with small arms fire at range only.

4) At any rate, while my tank and HMG are busy softening up the enemy, my infantry gets into position in the clump of scattered trees that is the closest decent cover to the enemy squad and I set cover arcs to prevent them from wasting their ammo too early. If possible, these cover arcs are set so that if the enemy squad actually tries to move (to close assault the 38(t), for example), my infantry will open fire and gun them down.

5) Once all my squads are in position and the enemy squad has received at a few turns MG hosing, my infantry squads jump off to cross the open ground. Exactly how they do this depends a bit on the exact composition of my infantry squads. Normally, with all Green or better units, my squads would take turns in a leapfrogging advance, with each Advance leg from 30-60m long depending on details of terrain, morale bonus, weight of incoming fire, etc. You said you had some Conscript squads, though, and Conscripts can't use the "Advance" command.

So long as I have at least two Green or better squads, I probably let the Green squads take the lead, and have the Company HQ follow just behind them, keeping them in command. As previously mentioned, JasonC has posted a number of excellent treatises on how to advance across open ground under fire. Without reiterating him in great detail, the basic idea is that "Alerted" or better units take turns Advancing in short bounds (I would say 50m at a time maximum in this situation), "Cautious" or worse units stay put, rally, and return fire. The major difference here is that, rather than simply getting your infantry to within 100-150m and letting the weight of your close-range small arms fire rout the enemy, you will have to get close enough to actually kill the enemy squad to a man. You probably still don't need to actually close to bayonet and rifle butt range, though. My guess is that if you can get two decent order Green squads, plus the HQ to within 75m or so, the combined weight of their fire (along with the continuing fire from the MG and Tank) should become deadly enough to whittle down the enemy squad pretty quickly. Don't try rush it and push Cautious units forward, or you'll just end up with a bunch of worthless, uncommandable units in self-preservation mode.

With at least two Green squads advancing, the Conscript squad(s) I have then stay back in the scattered trees and contribute suppressive fire. Conscripts are a pain in the @ss to get across open ground under fire, so as long as I've got at least three non-conscript units (two squads plus HQ) to make the actual assault, I think I'm better off having the Conscripts contribute covering fire from the relative safety of the trees for at least the first couple of assault "bounds." If my lead squads do start to tire/panic, I can then bring the 2nd wave of Conscripts up to absorb some of the enemy fire. They probably won't get too far before enemy fire pins them, but this will give my forward squads time to rally and return fire. It's important that the conscripts be "Under Command" when they move. Whatever you do, don't push your conscripts too hard – once a conscript squad reaches "Broken", it will remain worthless for quite a long time, even with a good morale bonus HQ to help rally it.

If I only have one Green squad, things will be a bit more difficult -- I will probably have to move 1 or 2 Conscript squads forward in the first wave, which will slow things down, but the basic idea is the same and I should still be able to get enough infantry close enough to kill the enemy squad within a few turns.

****

At least, in the CM game I'm playing in my head, that's how it works. Real milage may vary, and if the Russians have more hanging around than that fanatic infantry squad, things could get interesting very quickly. I’d be especially worried about that 38(t)A – they're quite vulnerable to light gun and ATR fire. . .

Cheers,

YD

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